Houston police have arrested nine juvenile males they say robbed and assaulted bicyclists on or near the Columbia Tap trail, in 13 incidents since May.
The suspects -- all between 10-16 years old -- "were referred to Harris County Juvenile Probation authorities on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. The youngest suspect was referred to authorities on charges of robbery," according to an HPD press release.
The release also states that "South Central officers conducted an extensive investigation into incidents in which victims on bicycles were being robbed and assaulted while riding on the Columbia Bike Trail. The victims were knocked off their bikes, beaten, and then robbed of their bicycles, cell phones and other property."
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Police believe the same group is "responsible for more than seven other similar robberies in locations near the bike trail. In those cases, victims were also robbed of bicycles and/or other property."
HPD Captain Glenn Yorek told the Chron that, in addition to money, the robberies were done for fun: "They thought it was a good summer activity," he said. But "some said they needed money to eat or to buy shoes."
According to the Chron, "the attacks began in mid-May and targeted victims, from college students to senior citizens, in the mid-morning and early evening....The captain described some of the beatings as 'brutal.' In one instance, the attackers broke someone's collar bone and ribs. Other times, the robbers hit their victims in the back of the head, followed with beatings by at least two attackers."
So remember: always wear a helmet.